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Regional News

Town of Lowville plans to ban marijuana dispensaries

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At a board meeting in Lowville in Lewis County last week, Town Supervisor Randy Schell introduced a law that would bar marijuana dispensaries from setting up shop and would prohibit on-site consumption of marijuana at any local businesses.

“[The] town of Lowville wants to opt-out of cannabis retail dispensaries, and on-site cannabis consumption sites from being established to operate or operating within the town's jurisdiction,” said Schelle at the board meeting.

When the state recently legalized recreational marijuana, it came with a provision that local municipalities could do exactly what the town of Lowville is doing if they so choose. Schell said the town board is against marijuana legalization in its entirety so he plans to take every action to restrict the substance in Lowville.

“This is the only chance we have to mitigate the impacts of the recreational use of marijuana in our jurisdiction,” said Schell.

However, one thing these restrictions cannot apply to is those who choose to grow cannabis.

“You can still grow twelve plants at your house,” said Schell. “You can have three pounds at your house if you want for your own personal use–we can't do anything about that. All we can do is control the dispensary and on-site premises licenses being issued.”

While this law to opt out was introduced, it has a far way to go until Lowville can actually prohibit dispensaries in their town. Next, there will be a public hearing for the board to get feedback before voting on it again.

Schell said he wants to give those opposed a chance to be heard before they move forward with getting the law on the November ballot.

“I wanted to get it out there soon enough so that if there is a huge public outcry, give them a chance to get the petition signed, have the referendum in November,” said Schell.

The village of Lowville has its own board that is also considering enacting a similar law. If they don’t, it is possible that dispensaries will be allowed in Lowville’s village but not its town. If this happens, the town will not be able to collect the 3% municipality tax on marijuana sales from any dispensaries in the village.

The public hearing for the town’s new law will be at their next board meeting on May 20.